It might surprise you to know that my mind isn’t an endless pit of culinary ideas; sometimes I need good, sharp mind-kicks. Now, these kicks are not literal because although one doesn’t have any nerve endings in one’s brain, a kick to the grey-matter could do irreversible damage. Instead, they are provided by the creations of the vast numbers of food-bloggers on WordPress, or by suggestions from friends. This particular recipe is the result of the latter. To be more specific, my friend Gemma requested a recipe for crispy beef in order that she could forego the expense of the Chinese takeaway. Naturally, I wanted to provide for this wee Scottish lass, but the idea also tickled my frugal weak-spot since one of my pet hates is perpetual takeaway eating – as Gemma’s request suggests, it isn’t particularly cost effective.
To tell you the truth, so infrequently do I go to the Chinese takeaway that I had no idea what crispy beef was. Luckily, it turns out that it didn’t necessarily have to be a gross, oily and overly salty effigy attempting to depict Chinese food. Instead, what emerged from my wok were perfectly crispy pieces of delicious, tender beef coated with an extremely light batter. This made for a pleasingly satisfactory dinner and went perfectly with my cold, raw vegetable and noodle salad. The salad was very simple, so I shan’t take up valuable space with a list of ingredients – it contained a little soy sauce along with lime juice, a bell pepper and some finely chopped spring onions.
In a way this little task, which I was very politely set, underlines the fact that I’m here, in part, to provide you with a service. My goal is to impart advice and recipes which allow people to save money. Therefore, if you have any suggestions or requests at all don’t hesitate to write a comment, send me an e-mail or contact me via Facebook. You never know, your idea may well get featured here! For now, however, please enjoy this oriental treat.
Chinese Crispy Beef
• 150g frying steak, thinly cut
• 2 eggs
• 2 tbsp cornflour
• 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 carrot, thinly sliced
• 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
• A handful of beansprouts
• 300ml sunflower or vegetable oil
1. Beat together the egg, cornflour and salt and coat each piece of beef in the resultant batter. Heat the oil in a wok and deep fry the beef 6-10 pieces at a time. Each piece is ready when it’s crispy and brown – this should take 5-7 minutes. Set the beef aside.
2. Remove all but 1tbsp of oil from the wok. Add in the vegetables along with the sweet chilli sauce and the soy sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes on a high heat before adding the beef. Heat through and serve immediately alongside your noodles.
Cost: Frying steak, when cooked properly, can be exceedingly tender, yet it only costs £1/100g. As such, this entire meal is extremely frugal and should set one back, noodles included, a mere £2.80. I think you’ll agree; that’s much cheaper than any takeaway you might have planned.